Tag Archives: Strike

Chicago Teachers: Battle Racist Education

CHICAGO, September 18 — The strike of 26,000 rank-and-file teachers who broke the bosses’ law in fighting to defend their students was suspended today after a vote of 800 delegates in the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), pending a membership-wide vote over the next several weeks.

This was a strike for the students and their parents. The teachers’ fight is one which opposes the school bosses racist oppression of the students. The teachers are fighting for better learning conditions for students and better working conditions for themselves. Many were open to Progressive Labor Party’s ideas and leadership shown by over 2,000 CHALLENGES and tens of thousands of fliers were distributed, and several teachers’ agreed to work more closely and learn more about the PLP.

The strike demonstrated that workers, united can defy the bosses’ laws. When teachers strike they openly defy the state’s plan to indoctrinate the next generation of workers in the classroom.

The teachers struck against racism. More than 80 percent of Chicago students are black and Latino and the school bosses run a system founded on racist discrimination that drives students into low-wage jobs, mass unemployment or the military, to kill our sister and brother workers in imperialist wars.

During the strike, the rank and file picketed every one of the system’s 585 schools, every day. Daily rallies of tens of thousands of people, including parents, students, and workers from other unions backed the strikers. Members who had formerly been inactive learned what it means to fight back against the boss. Others stepped forward into leadership roles. A strike changes people!

Smash the Bosses’ Dictatorship

This is only one battle in a long class war of workers against bosses that can be won only when the rulers’ state apparatus is smashed by a communist revolution led a by PLP.

The bosses are pushing their agenda to indoctrinate working class students and blaming teachers for capitalist failures. The leaders of the national unions are helping them; while the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten reluctantly came out in support of the strike. The fact is the trade unions as a whole, including the AFT and the National Education Association are partners with the bosses in opening the door to “reforms”. This will break seniority by re-writing tenure and starting the process to make teacher evaluation dependent on phony test scores.

The strike has already inspired millions of workers and youth and set an example of what kind of fight-back is possible. The experience of defying the bosses’ laws must be extended to a strike against their closing of even one school.

With the national elections just weeks away, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reminds us that we live under a class dictatorship and that the state apparatus (the government) serves the ruling class of billionaires, bankers and school reformers no matter which party is in the White House. The bosses and their politicians may disagree on how to save the U.S. empire but they are united on keeping their class in power and terrorizing workers and youth into accepting a future of racist terror, poverty and war. And part of the bosses’’ purpose in cutting back school budgets is to use these resources to fight their continuing imperialist oil wars.

The legal system that attacked this strike is the same court system and ruling class government that has:

• Enacted laws in Illinois, backed by both parties and signed by a Democratic Party governor forcing teachers to have a super majority (70 percent) to call a strike but CTU members smashed that barrier with a 90 percent vote;

• Passed another law that if a teachers’ strike “presents a clear and present danger,” the Mayor and school bosses can use the courts to force them back to work;

• Created the world’s largest prison population, over 2.4 million, 70% black and Latino;

• Deported over 400,000 immigrants last year alone, with tens of thousands more sitting in immigration jails, separated from family and friends;

• Foreclosed the homes of millions of workers and their families since the economic crash of 2008;

This ruling-class dictatorship must be smashed and replaced by dictatorship of the workers, in which millions of workers and youth will serve the needs of the international working class.

The strike helped expose the Democratic Party and its revolving door between the White House and Chicago’s City Hall. This includes Emanuel, Obama’s former Chief-of Staff (who was replaced by William Daley) and now head of Obama’s political fund-raising committee; Arne Duncan, national education Czar and former Chicago school boss; and Obama himself, former Illinois Senator.

Part of this bosses’ dictatorship is the use of their election circus in which both political parties are used to divert workers from looking to revolt against the ruling class that exploit us. By continuing the fight, the teachers will continue to get the support of parents, students and workers from all industries, in Chicago and beyond. PLP can expose the bosses’ class dictatorship, point workers in another direction, off the treadmill of endless reform and onto the road to revolution, a vital lesson that educators can learn on and off the picket lines!

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2011: Crisis-driven Bosses Attack, But Class Struggle Alive and Well

The events of 2011 served to remind us of two important aspects of capitalist society. First, the bosses of the world, caught in a sharpening struggle against their rivals and a spreading financial crisis, always have their knives out to assault the working class. Attacks intensified against our jobs, education, health, homes and families. The myths of democracy, fairness and opportunity for workers were exposed by a worldwide reality: we live under the bosses’ dictatorship. The past year made clear that regardless of national boundaries, no matter the “race” or gender of the boss, the ruling class will eagerly consign workers to hell on earth for the smallest gain in profit.

The ultimate expression of the boss’s callousness to sacrifice the lives of workers is imperialist war, of which there was no shortage in 2011. The U.S., still the main capitalist power in the world, continued its racist massacres in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in hopes of securing the Middle East’s oil and natural gas. Without the growth of a new worldwide communist movement, the prospects for 2012 and beyond are not much better.

While the U.S. remains the dominant power, other rivals, most prominently China, are gaining power — militarily, economically and politically. This challenge does not go unnoticed by the U.S. ruling class. The recent announcement by President Obama (the Nobel Peace Prize winner) that U.S. Marines will be stationed in northern Australia, alongside the recent diplomatic overtures to Myanmar, which borders China, signal a future where direct military conflict between the U.S. and China will be increasingly likely.

But the deadly maneuvering of the ruling class is only one side of the story of 2011. The second lesson, clearly visible from a quick look back through the pages of any of the bosses’ newspapers, is that workers are not meekly accepting these attacks. Class struggle is alive and well.  The list of places where large-scale rebellion rocked the bosses this past year is a long one: Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, England, France, Greece, Israel/Palestine, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, Syria, the U.S., and more.

To advance the cause of communist revolution, the international Progressive Labor Party has joined and led some of these militant struggles. In the pages of CHALLENGE, these battles and many other reports of class struggle were presented with a communist analysis.  If we are ever to defeat the murderous bosses and end their reign of terror, the working class must transform these narrow reform struggles into a fight for the working class to take state power — a fight for communist revolution.

The International PLP Advances

In New York City, the working class took on the racist Department of Education and its plan to impose Jim Crow-style segregation at the John Jay Campus high schools. In Israel/Palestine, a Summer Project participated in the fight against racist evictions and the housing shortage gripping workers there. In Haiti, we struggled to help rebuild a shattered society with communist principles of international solidarity and equality.

PL’s Summer Project in Haiti included a “Freedom School” for the discussion of communist principles. “Serve the working class” became more than a motto; it was put into practice when Party members created a clinic to serve the medical needs for Haitians in tent camps. The racist health care system was also a focus for comrades in the U.S. In New York we fought against the racist closing of Brookdale Hospital. Comrades and friends in Philadelphia fought to prevent the firing of a trusted hospital coworker. In Chicago, where hospital bosses tried to give patients a death sentence by transferring them to a decrepit facility, PL and others fought back.

Chicago was also the battleground for the heroic efforts of students and parents (primarily mothers), supported by the Party, to prevent the racist closing of the Whittier School library. Providing an example for the Occupy movement to follow, the parents (primarily mothers) and students at this majority Latino school, supported by the Party, seized the building and renamed it “La Casita.” For nearly a month, they held off the racist dogs of the Chicago Department of Education from carrying out their plan. Our comrades helped in many ways, from medical care to overnight guard duty. All the while they pointed out that whether we won or lost this particular battle, the bosses would still have state power. Our job is to fight not only “our” bosses, but bosses everywhere.

In Pakistan and Bangladesh, communists infused labor struggles in garment factories and universities with a vision of a society based on need rather than profit. In Mexico, where flooding threatened to destroy a community of 200,000 people, the Party explained that if our communist predecessors in the Soviet Union could move entire factories over the Ural mountains in three months during World War II, we could protect their city — if we had state power.

In these places and others around the world, CHALLENGE was ever-present. It consistently hammered home the point that it is only when we take on capitalism itself — when we transform battles against corrupt dictators, greedy bankers and fascist school boards into a world-wide communist movement — will we achieve workers’ liberation.

Arab Spring and Wall Street Occupy Working Class’s Imagination

Perhaps the most significant expressions of working-class fight-back were the upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East, collectively dubbed the Arab Spring, and in the Occupy Wall Street movement, a worldwide rage at the inequality of wealth that is the hallmark of capitalism.

The Arab Spring began with a rebellion in Tunisia that followed the self-immolation of a desperate young worker. But the uprising was fueled by a 13% official unemployment rate (about 30% for youth), skyrocketing prices for food, and political corruption. Similarly, in Egypt, while the bourgeois media focused on Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the struggle for “democracy,” the real battles were over rampant unemployment and the price of food. Strikes at Egypt’s textile mills, pharmaceutical plants, chemical industries, the Cairo airport, the transportation sector, banks, ports and the Suez Canal are the primary source of revolutionary optimism.

Workers throughout the world cheered on scenes from Tunisia and Tahrir Square, which makes the outcome of these battles all the more painful. In Egypt, ruthless dictator Hosni Mubarak was first replaced by a ruthless military and now in addition by the even more ruthless Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists (see CHALLENGE, 10/19). In Tunisia, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted and elections were held in October, but unemployment still crushes the youth there. This is the essence of reform struggles. However militant it may be, any struggle that fails to attack the entire capitalist system will simply replace one set of bosses with another. For workers, the promise of a new society has been met with the reality of continued joblessness and misery.

Nonetheless, the international working class proudly looked on as workers in Tahrir Square held up signs reading, “We are all Wisconsin,” a reference to the 100,000-strong protest against the attack on public sector workers in that state. Months before anyone occupied a park near Wall Street, thousands of workers occupied the state capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin.

Just as in Cairo, however, the brave workers of Wisconsin have been misled, this time into backing electoral politics and the Democratic Party. In the midst of this struggle, the Party brought forward the idea that both the fascist Governor Scott Walker and the supposedly “heroic” Democrats were all defenders of capitalism — and were all therefore enemies of the working class. This communist idea attracted many workers in Wisconsin and around the world.

In September, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement began in New York City before spreading to more than 1,500 cities worldwide. OWS captured the attention of workers who were tired of seeing banks get trillions of dollars in bailouts while education, transportation, health care, wages and jobs are slashed. One chant especially reflected this anger: “Banks got bailed out; We got sold out!” Throughout 2011, the Party participated in many of these occupations, picket lines, schools, churches and job sites, armed with leaflets and CHALLENGE.

PLP continues to strive to replace the dead-end reform tactics of the old communist movement with the fight for revolutionary communism for billions of workers in the world.

May Day

This past year was the 140th anniversary of the Paris Commune, the first time workers took control of the state. In this spirit, we celebrated May Day with marches, dinners and songs. From Colombia to El Salvador, in Los Angeles and New York, in Haiti and Palestine, we raised the red flag honoring our revolutionary ancestors. This year our May Day celebrations grew in size and better reflected the international character of the working class.

Turning Fascist Oppression into Communist Organizing

The working class continues to suffer from the racist exploitation and oppression that capitalism requires. In their increasingly desperate competition for dominance, the various national ruling classes outdo one another in making workers homeless, sick, maimed or killed in pursuit of profit. Frantic about “sovereign debt,” collapsing banks, currency disasters (notably the euro) and the industrial crisis of overproduction, the world’s bosses are peeling back their thin masks of “democracy” to reveal the bloody maw of a fascist monster. Meanwhile, the fight over Central Asian and Middle Eastern oil and natural gas appears to be careening toward broader military conflicts.

As we move into 2012, the battles against our capitalist enemies will continue to rage. The workers of the world will continue to fight back, in ways large and small. Everything we do as workers and communists counts: every march or picket line or discussion strengthened by  communist ideas, every time we help another worker and demonstrate how we can build a society without the parasitic bosses. By doing these things and more, the Party will help the working class move closer to ushering in a classless society that produces for need, not profit. Communist ideas are essential for this crucial advance. A mass, international, revolutionary party is necessary to lead the way. PL is that party. Now is the time to join!

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N. Africa to Mideast to Asia:Capitalism’s Survival Undercuts Workers’ Revolt; Wider Wars Loom

Tens of thousands of workers and youth are waging a political battle to overthrow U.S.-backed corrupt fascist dictators, cutting a wide swath throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Many have taken up arms and risked their lives fighting brutal attacks by the rulers’ cops and armies, whose tanks, guns and tear gas are marked “Made in USA.”

The rebels are also going on strike against the ravages of capitalism — skyrocketing food prices and massive unemployment — demanding jobs.

Unfortunately these courageous workers and youth will wind up with the same capitalist system that has produced this mass poverty and fascist conditions. What leadership that does exist is not fighting for workers’ power — communism — which would destroy the profit system and its ruling bosses. This only highlights the necessity to build the Progressive Labor Party to develop the kind of leadership that would make a fundamental change, a real revolution that would toss out the old ruling class and put the working class in power.

However, the U.S. may very well be playing both sides. While the rebellions oppose dictators backed by the U.S., their replacements might be U.S.-backed also. Some student rebels have been trained by CIA front groups on a 2008 organizing conference at Columbia University in NYC) as well as a union movement trained by the AFL-CIA.

Significantly these struggles are raging in and near the heart of U.S. rulers’ energy-based global empire, raising big questions: Will pro- or anti-U.S. bosses gain long-term advantage from the conflicts? And now that many Arab lands are, or could be, under shaky new management, how can Exxon Mobil and its Big Oil buddies hang on to critical oil fields and shipping routes?

Iran’s ayatollahs made their opportunistic aims clear by sending a pair of warships through embroiled Egypt’s Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, long controlled by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Meanwhile, Obama & Co.’s response involves expanding the scope of liberal President Jimmy Carter oil “Doctrine”:

“An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force. (Carter’s 1980 State of the Union Address)

Today’s revolts could spread to Carter’s obvious focus, Saudi Arabia, U.S. imperialism’s most vital energy interest. So Obama’s actual and possible combat theater protecting U.S. bosses’ “vital interests” now stretches from the mountains of Pakistan across the Gulf to the North African coast. And now the U.S. military has admitted its Afghan strategy is failing, and is withdrawing from strategic areas in that country. (NY Times, 2/25)

Liberal Bosses Want 20,000 Troops for Libyan Bloodbath

Libya, where dictator Qaddafi’s thugs have killed hundreds, and Exxon and U.S. ally BP have had to suspend drilling for crude oil, is especially worrisome to U.S. rulers. The NY Times summed up these risks: “The worst-case scenario, should the rebellion topple him,…is…a failed state where Al Qaeda or other radical groups could exploit the chaos and operate with impunity.” (2/27)

Michael O’Hanlon, military expert at the liberal Brookings Institution, urged the Pentagon to prepare a ground force, contrasting Libya with U.S. inaction in the 1994 crisis in Rwanda: “It would have taken closer to 20,000 troops, or more, to do the job right. There could well be a similar requirement here.” (Brookings website, 2/25) Obama booster O’Hanlon even provides the outlines of a body count: “We could lose one of our soldiers or Marines for every 10 enemy fighters we had to take down. If Qadhafi loyalists numbered in the thousands…we could lose hundreds of U.S. troops.” O’Hanlon would no doubt recommend the same treatment for al Qaeda sympathizers in Libya.

But Saudi Arabia, as the world’s greatest petroleum source and ExxonMobil’s biggest supplier, poses far graver concerns for U.S. bosses — so grave, in fact, that they resort to code to speak about it publicly. Michael Levi, a fellow at the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), funded by Rockefeller, Exxon and J.P. Morgan Chase, wrote: “If unrest actually migrated to the desert kingdom…Riyadh [Saudi’s capital] would probably impress on the world that it needed support if they didn’t want to see prices get out of control. That would be a credible threat, and could result in a very concrete set of responses”(CFR website, 2/25/11).

“Concrete response” means “invasion.” Two main groups seek to benefit from Saudi regime change: swelling ranks of unemployed youth and those capitalists not part of Saudi’s royal family, shut out of the fabulously lucrative oil racket. Osama bin Laden, a member of the latter, has united elements of both into the anti-U.S. al Qaeda.

Interestingly, Saudi’s ruling king, fearing an uprising, and to calm oil interests, just allotted $36 billion for reforms in his kingdom. But rather than “calming” the situation, those oil interests see his concerns as evidence of a further threat to the region and can very well provoke even more oil price hikes.

Top U.S. Warlord Visits Big Oil States and U.S. Bases

To hammer home the U.S. invasion vow, Admiral Mike Mullen, the U.S.’s top military chief, recently visited Kuwait on the pretense of commemorating the 20th anniversary of Desert Storm. In 1991, a U.S.-led coalition of 750,000 soldiers ousted Iraqi invaders from Kuwait. But the display of U.S. and allied firepower demonstrates Obama’s promise of a repeat performance to defend Saudi Arabia.

Covering the February 26 celebration, Stars and Stripes, the U.S. brass’s mouthpiece for GIs gushed:

“Tanks, troops, armored vehicles, helicopters and barrel-rolling [combat maneuver to elude adversaries] fighter jets…passed in formation before Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and other dignitaries including Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1991, and Spain’s King Juan Carlos. It was a spectacle rarely seen in the world today. Saudi, Kuwaiti, French, British, and other troops joined the relatively small contingent of roughly 175 Americans thundering down the road.”

Saudi Arabia’s participation indicated its coming turn for potential U.S. invasion.

Powell’s presence signaled the future use of his “overwhelming force Doctrine.”  The Spanish, French and British showing demonstrates that Obama, more like the Bush, Sr. than Bush, Jr., understands the U.S. need for broad military coalitions.

Mullen landed in Kuwait after a five-day Gulf tour of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Djibouti and Bahrain. These seven states either produce vast amounts of oil or house major U.S. military bases that defend the U.S. strategic stranglehold on its distribution. A Mullen spokesman reassured Saudi king Abdullah that Obama intends to keep him on his throne:  “The aim of the 1991 Gulf War was not to democratize Kuwait.” (Agencie French Press, 2/25)

But where would U.S. rulers find the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of troops needed for a Saudi invasion that would probably draw in Iran? Restoring the draft in present circumstances remains unthinkable. Gary Hart, a leading imperialist strategist, thinks the solution for U.S. imperialists lies in tying the liberal side of the fight over workers’ rights now centered in Wisconsin to a patriotic movement that would back U.S. rulers’ war plans.

Hart was co-chairman of Clinton’s 1999 Hart-Rudman Commission that drew up blueprints for a centralized U.S. police state, while both fearing and welcoming a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Hart figures this could galvanize mass U.S. support for a Saudi invasion, just as it did for the eventual invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter war now the longest in U.S. history. (See box)

Opportunities to Build the PLP

The uprisings and U.S. rulers’ reactions to them offer many valuable political lessons, about which we will write in coming issues. But for now we point to the first and foremost: Don’t trust the liberal bosses.

Meanwhile, PLP members and friends must back solidarity with — participate in — any rising working-class struggles, to be in position to guide them towards the goal of workers’ power and away from the liberals’ dead-end war aims. Recent anti-government working-class resistance to ruling-class attacks, both in the U.S. and abroad, show that politics are increasingly motivating workers. This can be advanced to demonstrate the need for a communist party, the PLP, a central role for our Party in the immediate period.

Liberal Gary Hart Seeks to Turn Wisconsin Protests to U.S. War Aims

Writing about Tea Partiers trumping U.S. imperialist policy from Madison to Tripoli, imperialist strategist Hart says, “There are lessons to be learned meanwhile about the limits of …American power. The struggle here is whether we will return to a pre-New Deal America with many fewer ladders of opportunity, safety nets for the poor and elderly, and regulatory protections for consumers, workers, and the environment.” (Hart’s weblog, 2/21) Hart wants a new New Deal, with even more ladders and nets. He understands U.S. rulers’ need to somehow recreate Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. FDR ran an alphabet soup of social programs, from the militaristic CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) to the job-creating (though slave wage) WPA (Works Progress Administration). It was these, along with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that helped overcome Tea Party-style 1930s isolationism by luring workers into the arms of a war-making government.

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University of California Students and Faculty Fight Back:

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STRIKE AGAINST A SYSTEM THAT CUTS EDUCATION TO EXPAND WAR AND BAIL OUT BANKS!

What kind of system puts the needs of oil profiteers and capitalist bankers over the health, safety and education of the rest of us? A capitalist profit system.

As the University of California increases tuition by 9% now and a total of 32% in the spring, faculty salaries are being cut and campus workers laid off. The current cut in the state budget for higher education (UC’s, CSU’s and community colleges) is $3 billion. Financial aid, loans, and work study are all being cut. The UC’s have reduced freshman enrollment by 6%. Faculty and staff at the UC’s and CSU’s are forced to take unpaid days off, and part time teachers have been laid off or had their hours reduced. The higher student fees will buy larger classes.

These cuts are racist and anti-working class, targeting black, Latino and all low income students and workers the hardest, those who find it harder to pay for school. The cuts come as the official unemployment rate in California is 12% and the actual rate is at least double that, including those who have given up looking for work. The current capitalist crisis is greater than any since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The California legislature has cut more than $15 billion from the state budget, which includes large cuts for welfare and health care, especially the Healthy Families program serving low income children.

Banks and corporations like General Motors have been bailed out for trillions of dollars of workers’ taxes. The federal budget for expanding wars in Iraq ad Afghanistan for control of oil, oil pipelines and profits is increasing. Since the Iraq war started in 2003, federal grants to the states have fallen steadily, while money spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has constantly risen. The Federal government has been sucking money out of the states to pay for its imperialist wars. In addition, the California prison population has increased about 75% since 1990, three times faster than the adult population. California spends more on prisons than any other state, with $10.3 billion budgeted for “Corrections and Rehabilitation” in 2008-2009 compared with $14.5 billion for higher education.

The priorities of the US Federal and state government are imperialist war, prisons, and fascist social control. Last week, LA cops and Sheriffs killed 4 black workers and youth in separate racist killings. Racist police terror is increasing to try to terrorize youth and workers and keep us from fight back against these attacks.  At the same time, Obama and all the politicians and administrators are pushing the patriotic idea of “shared sacrifice”, that we should all pull together in this economic crisis to share the cuts. But the bankers and the top UC and CSU administrators are not sacrificing—we are! This patriotism only serves the capitalists and imperialists, not us.

The budget cuts and economic crisis are not a natural disaster, or the result of a few greedy speculators (they were certainly greedy!). This crisis is built into the greedy, reckless capitalist system itself, a system whose main goal is profit for the capitalists through exploiting the vast majority, the working class, and through ever-wider wars to defend their empire from rival capitalists. Waiting for the crisis to end is not a plan. In fact, administrators have been told that the current cuts are permanent.

We can’t fall for the administrations’ divide and conquer tactics. We need to build unity between students, faculty, and campus workers to fight any and all cuts and attacks. This unity needs to be expanded to include unity with workers, high school students and soldiers beyond the Universities, all of whom are suffering from this capitalist crisis and expanding wars. We should build actions and strikes, including a statewide strike against the cuts.

Even more important, we should use our unity to strike and fight back against this system, capitalism, that only serves the needs of the capitalists at the expense of the vast majority of workers, students, teachers and soldiers the world over.

Our goal should be to fight for a system that meets the needs of the international working class and its allies among students and professionals. That system is a true communist system, where we produce, learn and fight to meet the needs of our class, not the profits of the bosses. For education to serve the needs of the majority, we need a system based on meeting those needs. Capitalism is based on exploitation, racism, crises and war, moving to wider war leading to WWIII. We need to fight to end it and build a system where those who produce all value also run society. Socialism maintained too many aspects of capitalism, like wages and inequality. Progressive Labor Party fights for communism, where we will produce and share what we produce based on need, not wages or profit.

Read CHALLENGE, PLP’s newspaper. Join us! Call 323-491-5125, www.plp.org

    HUELGA CONTRA SISTEMA CAPITALISTA RACISTA QUE NOS NIEGA EL DERECHO A VIVIR CON DESPIDOS, FASCISMO Y GUERRA IMPERIALISTA

UC esta despidiendo a muchos trabajadores  debido a la crisis economica. Pero, los patrones crean sus crisis economicas y nosotros pagamos por ellas,  Por ejemplo:

    • ¿Creen Uds. que Mark Yudof, el presidente de UC tiene problemas economicos? Crisis o no crisis, esta recibiendo intacto su salario anual de $800,000 dolares. Ademas, recibe $200 mil dolares al año para alquiler de su casa, mientras la mansion donde va a vivir es remodelada a un costo de $10 millones de dolares,
    • La UC tiene en fondo de $4 mil 500 millones que no estan siendo tocados. Aunque les sobra el dinero, estan atacando a los trabajadores con despidos y a los estudiantes con grandes aumentos de cuoatas.

Que la UC no tenga problems economicos no quiere decir que no haya crisis economica. El mundo capitalista enfrenta su peor crisis economica desde la GranDepresion de los 1930. Pero la crisis CAPITALISTA ES UNA CRISIS DE SOBRE PRODUCCION – NO DE ESCASES O sea, los capitalistas han producido mas mercancias de las que pueden vender. Por ejemplo, hay millones de casas pudriéndose vacias, millones de toneladas de comida que son tiradas diariamente y a los USAgricultores se les paga por no sembrar. Sin embargo, mas de 3.5 millones de USAmericanos – 1.6 millones de ellos niños – estan desamparados durante el año y 30 millones – 12 millones de ellos niños – se acuestan con hambre todas las noches.

DINERO PARA BANCOS-POLICIAS – MIGRA FASCISTA Y GUERRA IMPERIALISTA Los patrones no tienen dinero para nosotros pero si para sus cuerpos represivos que usan para aterrorizarnos y obligarnos a aceptar pasivamente sus recortes, despidos y explotacion racista. Mientras Villaraigosa despide trabajadores esta contratando a mil nuevos policias. Obama tiere dinero para rescatar bancos, emplear mas agentes de la Migra y gastar cientos de miles de millones en las guerras imperialistas por petroleo en el Oriente Medio. Sin embargo, les está recortando el presupuesto a las escuelas y universidades, y dejando que millones pierdan sus casas, sus empleos y no tengan cobertura medica.

Ademas, guarda silencio ante los asesinatos impunes de trabajadores negros por sus escuadrones de la muerte gubernamentales – como los cuatro trabajadores negros recientemente asesinados a sangre fria en el area de LA por el Sherifato. Todos los trabajadores y estudiantes debemos protestar estos asesinatos racistas y comprender que es su mensaje para nosotros: ¡No osen rebelarse porque les pasara los mismo!

SOLUCION CAPITALISTA A SU CRISIS: FASCISMO Y GUERRA MUNDIAL La 2ª Guerra Mundial fue necesaria para ponerle fin a la Gran Depresion de los 1930 a un costo de mas de 100 millones de trabajadores y soldados muertos. Ahora los patrones preparan una 3ª Guerra Mundial para salir de su crisis y decidir quien de ellos va a dominar  el mundo. Quieren usar el patriotismo para ganarnos a trabajarles como esclavos y a morir y matar en sus campos de batalla. Si el patriotismo no es suficiente, usaran el terror fascista.

Los trabajadores  no tenemos nada que ganar en esta pelea de buitres y todo que perder. Nuestros intereses yacen en organizarnos con estuditantes y soldados – nacional e internacionalmete – para ponerle fin a este sistema infernal capitalista con una revolucion comunista. Nosotros podemos y debemos construir un mundo donde el sudor de nuestro trabajo sirva  para llenar las necesidades de nuestra clase trabajadora internacional, no los bolsillos de los patrones. Necesitamos un mundo sin patrones, dinero, esclavitud asalariada, racismo, sexismo, explotacion, fronteras y guerras imperialistas. Para lograr eso necesitmaos ingresar y contruir al PLP en un movimiento masivo de estudiantes, soldados y trabajadores.  ¡Unetenos!


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Bosses’ Labor Day Can’t Displace Workers’ May Day:

Stella D’Oro Struggle, Not Labor Fakers, Is Model to Follow

NEW YORK CITY, September 1 — In a feeble response to workers’ anger at the bosses’ financial crisis, this city’s Central Labor Council (CLC) has this year labeled the hollow ritual of their patriotic Labor Day Parade a “march” for healthcare reform and union rights (meaning Obama’s healthcare bill and the Employee Free Choice Act, EFCA). The parade, led by Grand Sellout Lillian Roberts, is also “supposed” to honor the eleven-month strike of the Stella D’Oro workers, now fighting to keep their jobs as the bakery threatens to shut down and move. But following the militant lead of the Stella D’Oro bakers does not mean parading behind the CLC fakers, nor supporting the bosses’ attempt to eke out just enough medical care to keep us able to churn out their profits and fight their wars — while making us pay for it.

The Stella workers’ unity across racial and gender lines, their solid rank-and-file organization and determination to fight on, their resistance to scabs and cops (“scabs in blue”) and ability to win other workers’ support are indeed models to follow. But their union relied on a legal strategy to win the strike. They did achieve a victory in the labor
courts — but then what?

The bosses’ laws are geared to protect the capitalists’ right to do what they want with their property. So they can run away looking for lower-wage workers, or just close down and dump workers in the street. Now Stella workers are up against the essence of capitalism, the bosses’ ownership of the means of production.

PLP calls on all workers to back the Stella D’Oro bakers all the way, with all the strength of our class.

Unknown to many, the U.S. Labor Day holiday originated in Canada, but its original significance was turned on its head by U.S. bosses and their union flunkies. In Canada, workers launched it in the 1870s as part of the fight for the 9-hour day. A U.S. labor “leader” attended it in Toronto in 1882 and brought it back to the U.S. on September 5, 1882.

When the International Workingmen’s Association, led by Karl Marx, saluted the U.S. working-class’s May 1, 1886 general strike in Chicago for the 8-hour day by establishing May 1st as an international workers’ day, marches were held worldwide, including in the U.S.

Then May Day in the U.S. in1894 erupted in street battles between workers and cops, so two months later the bosses, fearing a militant workers’ movement, had the U.S. Congress establish Labor Day as a federal holiday on the first Monday in September that same year as an “answer” to May Day.

The first half of the 20th century saw militant May Days, most led by communists, drawing tens of millions around the world. In 1947, the U.S. Communist Party (CP) organized 250,000 to march in New York City. But soon the CP sold out its principles and abandoned May Day. However, in 1971, PLP picked up the banners of May Day and has organized marches every year since.

Meanwhile, the bosses’ Labor Day became a holiday completely bereft of any working-class content, mainly “saluting” the corrupt labor misleaders, servants of the bosses. Despite these fakers, and their counterparts internationally, May Day remains the true celebration of working-class solidarity and anti-racist unity, pointing towards a future of workers’ power when the bosses’ Labor Day will be tossed into the ashcan of history.

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Stella D’Oro Diary 3: Strikers Continue to Fight

Bronx, NY, June 17 —

For the wife of J.F. –

En la vida todo es ir

In life everything is going

A lo que el tiempo deshace.

towards what time is undoing.

Sabe el hombre donde nace

Where we are born we know,

Y no dónde va a morir.

not where we’re going to die.

This dialectical poem by the revolutionary Juan Antonio Corretjer1 captures the experience of Puerto Rican workers’ migration to New York, and treats life itself as an endless migration from our birthplace into unknown time. It speaks to the poignant experience of time in any migrating worker’s life. We heard that in the memorial tribute by his brother to Marcelo Lucero, the Ecuadoran immigrant worker murdered by racists in Long Island last year. And we hear it in the strike of the Stella workers, 97% of whom were born outside the U.S.. The strikers tell us that not knowing how a long strike will end is a hard thing to live through.

If you ask them what is the worst thing about their strike many speak of the dragging, endless time waiting on their corner of north Broadway for the strike to be resolved. “Ten months!  In two months it’ll be a whole year!”  “We started in summer… into the fall… winter… spring… and now it’s summer again — another summer!” They shake their heads, put their hands on your arm and ask “Are all strikes this long?  How long are other strikes?” Where is it going? Is all this time undoing their lives?  Is everything coming undone because of the boss’s heartlessness and refusal to listen to them even when they speak in the chants of a thousand supporters?

Sitting near us in the courtroom last month, while the Brynwood lawyer and the hated manager Dan Meyers droned on with their racist contempt for the workers, an older woman from Africa looked so sad we asked her what she was feeling, and she said she was thinking about her life ending this way, destroyed by these people. That’s one ending to the strike people are thinking about, that it might be the end of their working lives, the death of their common life together in the factory which, exploitation and all, was nevertheless a life where they shared good feelings as well as hard times, and had pride in their collective strength as unionized workers who had struck twice already for their demands. Will they ever go back to that time?

The Brynwood bosses, snug in their Connecticut suburbs, of course count on a strike wearing down the workers, but the strikers say grimly that Brynwood has underestimated them all along and that they will never give in. And strike time is not all unrelieved waiting. It is punctuated by a big rally that lifts their spirits; the last was twice the size of the previous one and they see they are gaining momentum. Every day other workers come with coffee and they know they are not alone. Yesterday a TWU busdriver blasted his horn going by and yelled through the window “Down with the scabs!” Those scabs walk brazenly past and they get up from the crates they’re sitting on and yell at them, competing to make up witty insults.

They see their fellow workers step up and develop as leaders growing in political knowledge and skill (one man on her shift bought one of these new women strike leaders a bullhorn of her own, as testimony to her fighting for all the workers). They know they are being talked about by radical workers in Germany and Guatemala and Spain and France and wherever CHALLENGE is read around the wide world they come from. Some come to meetings with PLP and discuss it all at length, as we make it possible for them to know one another, and speak together, in new, politically informed ways. But others sit there on their crates. A striker’s time drags and drags and drags towards its unknown end.

People are getting tired and worn down; they get sick again and again.  (It’s good that tomorrow some doctors are coming to the line to do free checkups.)  Some are thinking about bankruptcy or looking for other jobs — will another job be the end of their time at Stella? A spouse’s grave illness removes one of the most militant workers from strike activity and we don’t see him for more than two months. A woman speaks of how hard it is to answer her five-year-old grandson’s question, “Where are you going?  Is that strike still on?” The strikers don’t know the end of the process, but they know the way, their struggle is making the road by walking. All of a worker’s struggling life is going, going forward, and starting from their political “birth” place at Stella D’Oro some of these workers may die as revolutionaries. We, and they don’t know where we individually will end, but we and they do know that the working class itself will never die. J

(Endnote)

1. Corretjer left the revisionist Puerto Rican Communist party to found the Liga Socialista, which for a time in the 1960s was a fraternal party of the young PLP. You can find on the internet Roy Brown’s musical setting of this poem in decima style sung by him, the group Haciendo Punto, and the Catalán singer Joan Manuel Serrat.

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Strike Diary: ‘Peaceman’ and ‘Hopeman’ — Gaza and Stella D’Oro

stella-signs

BRONX, NY, January 13 — Today, a multi-racial group of 500 Stella D’Oro strikers and supporters, including PLP’ers, marched to a Target store that’s selling scab-made cookies. In thinking about this strike, much in the world situation comes to mind: the economic meltdown, the imperialist oil wars, racist unemployment, and in particular, the Israeli invasion of Gaza and this strike — two sieges in a long class war — so this diary is dedicated to Peaceman and Hopeman, two friends on either side of the Gaza border who write a blog together: http://gaza-sderot.blogspot.com

They’re ordinary folks (Hopeman is a student who can’t get out of Gaza to attend his college), not very “political,” who maintain their friendship to have something to rebuild with when the war and siege forced on them are over. Of course that’s very political!

They’re showing how workers can build solidarity across borders, dodging Israeli bombs and Hamas rockets to find cell phone reception so they can talk, at least when Hopeman has enough electricity to charge his phone. Most of the Stella strikers who are becoming my friends are like that — they’re building a base for the future. Communism does that too.

Recently A. told a young teacher and community arts organizer (who’s planning a video documentary about the strike) that it was forced on the workers. The Israeli fascists and Hamas religious nationalists did the same thing to Palestinian and Israeli workers with their war.

But hidden behind the Israeli and Palestinian politicians who the bloggers despise are all the rival imperialists who’ve shaped the Middle East: the Ottoman emperors who ruled there until World War I; the British Mandate rulers who set up this impossible situation by guiding the founding of Israel as a European settler colony; the U.S. rulers funding Israel as their client state and military proxy; and all the others (the EU, Russia, China, Japan, Iran, India) feeling their way into a serious challenge to the declining U.S. empire.

Those same clashing imperialist elephants are trampling the grass in this bakery strike too, hard to see until some communist comes and talks it up. Three strikers are now reading the article “A Class Analysis of the Israel/Palestine Conflict” from PL’s journal “The Communist.”

Imperialist rivalry caused the economic crisis smashing into the Bronx bakers and also intensifies it. Brynwood Partners, which own Stella D’Oro, is a Wall Street speculator like those who brought us this deepening depression, a “vulture capitalist” who swoops down on struggling companies to strip and flip them for resale.

Economists call it “financialization,” turning real plants into fictitious capital and trading them like bad mortgages or baseball cards. The capitalist economic pressures that forced this strike are the same ones producing war in Gaza.

A. tells the young video artists the strike was forced on them, but there’s nothing forced about how these workers love and honor one another, just as no one is forcing or even organizing Peaceman and Hopeman to continue their blog. The strikers stick together, like Peaceman and Hopeman, so there’s something to rebuild with when the strike ends (win or lose). This solidarity grows from their working together so long, but it’s really for the future, as they pull on their long johns and layer up for picket duty on the five-month anniversary of their brave strike.

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General Strike Jolts France: 2.5 Million Marchers Say Make the Bosses Take the Losses

SAINT-NAZAIRE, FRANCE, February 7 — On January 29, as part of a massive general strike of hundreds of thousands of workers, 2.5 million people marched for jobs and against government cutbacks in almost 200 cities across France, with 300,000 demonstrating in Paris and 200,000 in Marseilles.

At least 18,000 demonstrated in this ship-building port in western France. When the sub-prefect (the local representative of the national government) refused to receive a union delegation, protesters began throwing beer cans at the riot police protecting the sub-prefecture. When the police attacked with tear gas, workers tore down the entry gate and four hours of street fighting ensued. The cops injured a number of protesters, one seriously and rounded up 16 people, partly at random, some of whom have already been sentenced to jail.

The bosses in France are very nervous. Even the government’s under-stated figures show nine months of rising unemployment have left 2.1 million workers jobless, while another 2.8 million have given up finding a job. Result: a real unemployment rate of at least 17.5%!

This high unemployment has made workers anxious and angry, sparking this huge general strike and demonstrations called by eight union confederations. From 20% to 40% of public sector workers — hospital, telephone, postal and electric company workers and half or more of secondary and elementary school teachers — walked out.

All the major state radio networks shut down, and a third of television network workers struck. Almost one-third of flights from Orly airport were cancelled. Almost all the Paris commuter train workers, half the Métro (subway) workers and at least a third of urban transport workers in the rest of France went on strike.

In addition, unexpectedly large numbers of private-sector workers went out, in the banks, Renault auto plants and at Alcatel-Lucent (the world’s second-biggest telecommunications equipment-maker). Autoworkers completely shut down PSA’s Poissy and Rennes factories, and partly closed the Sochaux plant.

Private-sector workers do not enjoy the same job security as public workers and consequently strike less. Thus, many Auchan supermarket, Celanese chemicals, Dynastar ski, Ford auto, Free telecommunications and Tefal kitchenware workers used their holiday time to join the protest marches.

Many marchers bore signs saying, “Can you see this strike, you stupid jerk?” — a reference to French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s July statement that “nowadays, when there’s a strike in France, nobody notices” and his telling a farmer who refused to shake hands with him in February, 2008 to “beat it, you stupid jerk.”

As usual, union leaders here are tailing the militancy of the working class. The bosses wanted to reduce the duration of unemployment benefits. The signature of two trade unions was necessary for the measure to pass, so on February 2 the traitorous CFDT and CFE-CGC obliged the government and signed.

President Sarkozy responded to the workers’ strike with insult and scorn, reflecting the ruling class’s estimation that any deviation from the set course could lead to their losing control. In his February 5 speech, his “answer” to the general strike, Sarkozy offered another, 8-billion-euro tax break ($9.5 billion) to French bosses and told the working class he would continue to push through his neo-conservative counter-reforms, notably the non-replacement of half the public workers who retire. He announced a meeting with union leaders on February 18.

The more radical unions want to stage another strike and protest before the 18th, a move the conservative unions are resisting.

These struggles need to confront racism since police repression, mass unemployment, among other problems have hit non-white and immigrant workers here for a long time. International solidarity with strikers in Martinique and Guadeloupe must also be part of the struggle. In this age of endless imperialist wars and economic meltdown, this means developing a revolutionary anti-racist communist leadership of these militant struggles, breaking with the union misleaders and fake leftist electoral parties.

Teachers Shut Universities

On February 2, teachers struck at over half the 83 French universities on February 2, with the strike continuing and general assemblies being held on February 4 on many campuses. Students are gradually joining the protest movement.

The teachers are opposing counter-reforms which make it harder for members of the working class to become primary and secondary school teachers and give university presidents greater control over faculty working conditions and careers. These counter-reforms are the French enactment of a May, 2006 European Commission decision to force all European universities to serve the capitalist class more directly. A national university protest is scheduled for February 10

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Strikers, PLP Agree: ‘MAKE THE BOSSES TAKE THE LOSSES’

fs_5640BRONX, NY, January 26 — “It may be freezing…but they will not shut us down!” declared one Stella D’Oro striker. These bold workers just passed the 5-month mark of their strike. The vicious bosses, the private equity firm Brynwood Partners, have tried “…to slash these workers wages by 25%, do away with Saturday overtime and impose a new, crushing 20% employee contribution to worker health care benefits” (NY Daily News 1/22), plus eliminate four holidays, one week of vacation and all 12 paid sick days!

The strikers talk constantly about their hatred for the new owners, who broke up their lives trying to destroy the union and resell the plant as a low-wage, non-union operation. “We’re there to work hard, we didn’t want to be out here in the cold; they pushed us out the doors.”

Although these scumbag bosses have tried to bring the strikers to their knees, while replacing them with scabs (supposedly limited to two months), not one worker has crossed the picket line. “I agree that the best way to get them [the Brynwood bosses] where it hurts is by taking our labor power away from them,” one worker told a PLP teacher.

Class struggle is a harsh, punishing master of workers’ lives. It crashes into our lives in the form of wars and lockouts, layoffs and medical bills. And, in this case, racism, as the overwhelming majority of the strikers are black and Latino, super-oppressed by these bosses to rake in super-profits.

The strikers have no more health insurance. COBRA costs $1,200/month for family coverage. Applying for it doesn’t guarantee being accepted. Not having health insurance is a worry generally, but especially when you’re on picket duty in 21º weather.

“No contract, no cookies!” remains the slogan of 136 striking workers. “The support from people in the neighborhood has kept us going,” explained another striker as he took another stack of 40 CHALLENGES and placed them next to the coffee and donuts.

Within minutes most workers picked them up and began reading. “I like this paper!” exclaimed one striker. She said, “It really talks about fighting back!” She then asked if PL would help them build for their march and rally at Target here on January 31. They thanked us again for raising $5,000 dollars for their local. We said we’d try to announce the march at the next teachers union Delegate Assembly and ask for more money to support their strike. In addition to bringing the usual coffee and donuts, we also donated a bunch of hand- and foot-warmers.

“A” is one of the most active strikers, a modest guy who’s also a natural workers’ leader, leading by example. When we first met him last October, he was distributing flyers on the picket line and did so whenever the union brought some. They stopped coming a long time ago and few got printed anyway — no resources. The International gives nothing beyond strike pay. They had the gall to offer the Local a loan at interest rates higher than a bank’s!

When discussing the risk of getting sick on these four-hour mid-winter shifts, “A” told us he’d gone to a clinic run by the Espada family of Bronx politicians, seeking the free care that Espada, Sr. had promised the strikers at a rally. At the clinic Espada, Jr. became very hostile: “How do I know my father told you that? Do you have it in writing? Where’s the paper? Why has no one else come in?” So there was no free care, only insults. “A” turned his back on Espada and left.

He says “bad people” provoked the strike, people so greedy they’re crazed, almost inhuman: “Why do they want more, more, more when they’re already rich? Why do they want to ruin our lives for a few more dollars? Why are they like that?”

When the cops made the strikers tear down their well-made protective tarp and dump their chairs; when they refused a permit for a warming van; when Brynwood owner Hank Hartung lied and had a striker arrested and jailed for five days on a charge that has little chance of sticking in court — why are they like that? Is this just how people are? No, it’s capitalism as a system.

When talking to “A” about it, it feels good to be a communist, with a Party that’s studied these things and a tradition going back 160 years. Maybe “A” will join PLP in the future, take communist ideas and run with them and bring his leadership ability into the Party and the class war way beyond one strike and one company and one bosses’ nation.

Maybe along the road to revolution these strikers will join hands with workers in Israel and Gaza, and “the workers of the world will rise again.” Then the mystery of why bosses and cops and politicians and International union officials are like that will become clear to them all.
Many of the strikers openly support the slogan, “Make the bosses take the losses!”

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France: Workers Must Unite Immigrants, Youth in Looming General Strike

le che au dessus des travailleurs de l'automobilePARIS, January 24 — A 24-hour general strike called by eight trade union confederations is set to rock France. Both government and private-sector workers are likely to participate in large numbers. Demands include: limiting job cuts; reducing income from stocks and bonds to increase wages; changing European Union policy to bolster consumption, the welfare state, and social housing; and regulating international finance.

These tepid reformist demands show that, in the name of “unity,” the most radical confederations are once again lining up behind the lowest common denominator acceptable to the right-wing unions. Even in their independent position statements, the radical unions go no further than calling for renewing the general strike, day by day, and “refusing to pay for the capitalist crisis.”

All this is a far cry from what workers here really need: revolutionary leadership to overthrow capitalism and establish communist workers’ rule.
In addition to private-sector workers in the metal trades, mining, banking, telecommunications and retailing, public workers in health, rail and urban transport, the post office, gas and electricity and education will join the strike.

The January 29 walkout will also hit the campuses, where teachers and researchers are feeling the lash of an increasingly authoritarian government. In December, French president Nicolas Sarkozy increased his control over the broadcast media. This month he shattered illusions of “judicial impartiality” by eliminating the examining magistrates who supposedly counter-balance executive power. Now he’s moving to bring the education system under greater autocratic control.

This constitutes a three-pronged attack: (1) changing the status of faculty, (2) changing the recruitment of primary and secondary school teachers, and (3) reinforcing religious education.

Previously, all faculty pursued research and teaching in equal measure. Now university presidents will use their new powers under last year’s LRU law to give the “best minds” more time for research and administrative tasks, while the others take up the slack and teach longer hours. Thus the presidents will be able to advance teachers who side with the bosses.

In the past, many teaching positions were filled by national competitive exams. Successful candidates were then paid during one year of teacher training. Now, three roadblocks will make it harder for working-class people to become teachers: (1)candidates will have to write a master’s thesis while studying for the competitive exam (difficult if you’re working to pay your way through school — as do 70% of the students in the working-class Paris suburbs, many of whom are of North or sub-Saharan African origin); (2) candidates’ “files” (their social background), will become a selection criterion, in addition to exam results; and (3) there will be no paid year of teacher training.

Before, the French government did not recognize diplomas awarded by Vatican-controlled universities on a par with those from state universities. Now a treaty with the Vatican will allow conservative Catholic institutions to play a bigger role in shaping the French “meritocracy.”

The situation on the campuses is a microcosm of French society. With inter-imperialist rivalry mounting in recent years, the French bosses have steadily increased their state’s capacity to regiment and control society. This accelerated with the May 2007 election of President Sarkozy. Now the financial and economic crises are pushing the bosses to move even faster, with full-blown fascism becoming an increasingly probable outcome.

In the past, the union leaders and many workers have looked the other way while immigrant workers and youth from the former French colonies in Africa suffered police terror and racist super-exploitation. The lack of anti-racist unity with these immigrant workers and youth has weakened ALL workers. The best outcome that can emerge from this general strike and many other struggles is the building of an anti-racist, multi-ethnic revolutionary leadership to fight the sharper attacks the working class is facing. That’s the road that will lead to building a society without any racist bosses: communism!

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